Based on the book “UNarmed But Dangerous” Eagle Without Wings is a drama film that combines all the key elements of a commercial drama: perseverance, determination, betrayal, racism, disability, passion, love and religion. The elements are explosive, current and the characters are not afraid to play with them, taking the spectator to the most extreme territories of the heart and soul.
It is 1963 the defining year of the civil rights movement, when Martin Luther King announces to the march on Washington “I have a Dream,” a young girl named Tawana is born without arms and impaired use of her legs in Wilson, North Carolina. Her mother Rose who has to depend on her own mother for protection and support has to deal with the Wilson community, church friends and the doctor who suggests first an orphanage, then selling Tawana to a circus.
In her desperation Rose writes to President John F. Kennedy who arranges for Tawana to get training at Duke Hospital. Tawana is sent there for four and a half years, her training time at Duke Hospital pays off and she is accepted at her returned home to a school for the disabled in Washington, DC. The only problem is that Tawana hates the school because she doesn’t consider herself disabled in any way! Her mother Rose finally gives in to Tawana’s pleading and lets her attend a public school for her 7th grade, where Tawana is ridiculed for the first time.
Indomitable, she perseveres, getting top grades but even her intelligence is a target from the other students. When Tawana comes home in tears, Rose asks for her help with the dishes and talks to Tawana about how hard it was growing up with eight siblings and how terrible it was for Grandma Rogers to lose her son Luther in the Viet Nam war. Shots of the early Civil Rights Movement (Rosa Parks, Dr. King in Montgomery) intersperse with the anti-war marches and Women’s Liberation actions.
Every summer Tawana and her three sisters stay with Grandma Rogers in Wilson, NC and from her she learns that the most important strength is the one from the heart. This lesson will stay with her forever because it is what will help Tawana overcome all the incredible challenges that eventually life will throw at her during her adolescent year’s wearing a full body cast for months, suicide attempts, crack addiction, gang rape, being raped by her step father, poverty, love deception and injustices. Tragedy strikes many times during Tawana’s life but it is her perseverance for survival and determination that eventually will help her find the right path to success.
Tawana not only overcomes all her addictions and life tragedies but marries 'Toby' her childhood sweetheart who becomes her loyal companion during the new chapter of her life as an inspirational and motivational speaker, sharing her story with many and flying high like an Eagle Without Wings. A film with transformative power! It is a machine for creating empathy and courage.
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